Jon Thorson

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463 Bio Pharm Complex
789 South Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40536-0596

Phone: 859-218-0140
Fax: 859-257-7585

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Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation

Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics Program, Markey Cancer Center

Drug Discovery and Development Core, UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Jon Thorson - Ph.D.

Jon received his B.A. degree in chemistry (1986) from Augsburg College and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry (1993) from the University of Minnesota with Professor Hung-wen (Ben) Liu. He held a postdoctoral appointment as a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (1993-1996) at the University of California, Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz. From 1996-2001, Jon held appointments as an assistant member of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and assistant professor of Sloan-Kettering Division, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University. In 2001 Professor Thorson moved to the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy and during his tenure with UW, Jon was instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Center for Natural Products Research, the NCI-supported UW National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group and the NATPRO Protein Structure Initiative. Professor Thorson joined the UK College of Pharmacy in the Fall of 2011 where he serves as the first director of the new UK Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation. Professor Thorson also currently serves as the co-Director of the Markey Cancer Center’s Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics Program and co-Director of the Drug Discovery and Development Core in the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science. His research interests include understanding and exploiting biosynthetic pathways and enzyme mechanisms, bioorganic and chemoselective ligation chemistries, enzyme engineering and evolution, natural products discovery and bioprospecting. Professor Thorson has also been credited with establishing the general area of natural product glycorandomization and is a co-founder of the Madison-based biotechnology company Centrose.

Selected Honors

Selected Publications/Presentations

2015 (all publications):

  • Zhang J, Ponomareva LV, Nandurkar NS, Yuan Y, Lei F, Zhan CG, Thorson JS. Influence of sugar amine regiochemistry on digitoxigenin neoglycoside anticancer activity. ACS Med. Chem Lett. 2015, 6, 1053-1058. PMCID: PMC Journal In Process
  • Singh S, Michalska K, Bigelow L, Endres M, Kharel MK, Babnigg G, Yennamalli RM, Bingman CA, Joachimiak A, Thorson JS, Phillips Jr GN. Structural characterization of CalS8, a TDP-alpha-D-glucose dehydrogenase involved in calicheamicin aminodideoxypentose biosynthesis. J. Biol. Chem. 2015, doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.673459. PMCID: PMC Journal In Process
  • Peltier-Pain P, Singh S, Thorson JS. Characterization of early enzymes involved in TDP-aminodideoxypentose biosynthesis en route to AT2433. Chembiochem 2015, 16, 2141-2146. PMCID: PMC4598305
  • Zhang Y, Ye Q, Wang X, She QB, Thorson JS. A divergent enantioselective strategy for the synthesis of griseusins. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2015, 127, 11371-11374. PMCID: PMC4565752
  • Shaaban KA, Elshahawi SI, Wang X, Horn J, Kharel MK, Leggas M, Thorson JS. Cytotoxic indolocarbazoles from Actinomadura melliaura ATCC 39691. J. Nat. Prod. 2015, 78, 1723-1729. PMCID: PMC4515175
  • Wang F, Singh S, Kim Y, Xu W, Helmich KE, Miller MD, Cao H, Bingman CA, Thorson JS, Phillips Jr GN. The structural basis for the stereochemical control of amine installation in nucleotide sugar aminotransferases. ACS Chem. Biol. 2015, 10, 2048-2056. PMCID: PMC4575645
  • Singh S, Kim Y, Wang F, Bigelow L, Endres M, Kharel MK, Babnigg G, Bingman CA, Joachimiak A, Thorson JS, Phillips Jr GN. Structural characterization of AtmS13, a putative sugar aminotransferase involved in indolocarbazole AT2433 aminopentose biosynthesis. Proteins 2015, 83, 1547-1554. PMCID: PMC4570032
  • Ponomareva LV, Athippozhy A, Thorson JS, Voss SR. Using Ambystoma mexicanum (Mexican axolotl) embryos, chemical genetics, and microarray analysis to identify signaling pathways associated with tissue generation. Compar. Biochem. Physiol. C 2015, doi:10.1016/j.cbpc.2015.06.004. PMCID: PMC Journal in Progress
  • Wang X, Reynolds AR, Elshahawi SI, Shaaban KA, Ponomareva LV, Saunders MA, Elgumati IS, Zhang Y, Copley GC, Hower JC, Sunkara M, Morris AJ, Kharel MK, Van Lanen SG, Prendergast MA, Thorson JS. Terfestatins B and C, new p-terphenyl glycosides produced by Streptomyces sp. RM-5-8. Org. Lett. 2015, 17, 2796-2799. PMCID: PMC4472964
  • Cai W, Goswami A, Yang Z, Liu X, Green KD, Barnard-Britson S, Baba S, Funabashi M, Nonaka K, Sunkara M, Morris AJ, Spork AP, Ducho C, Garneau-Tsodikova S, Thorson JS, Van Lanen SG. The biosynthesis of capuramycin-type antibiotics: Identification of the A-102395 biosynthetic gene cluster, mechanism of self-resistance and formation of uridine-5'-carboxamide. J. Biol. Chem. 2015, doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.646414. PMCID: PMC4447950
  • Elshahawi SI (co-first author), Shaaban KA (co-first author), Kharel MK, Thorson JS. A comprehensive review of glycosylated bacterial natural products. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44, 7591-7697. PMCID:PMC4560691 
  • Tam HK, Härle J, Gerhardt S, Rohr J, Wang G, Thorson JS, Bigot A, Lutterbeck M, Seiche W, Breit B, Bechthold A, Einsle O. Structural characterization of O- and C-glycosylating variants of the landomycin glycosyltransferase LanGT2. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2015, 54, 2811-2815. PMCID: PMC4376353

1998-2014 (representative selection from each year):

  • Singh S, Zhang J, Huber TD, Sunkara M, Hurley K, Goff RD, Wang G, Zhang W, Liu C, Rohr J, Van Lanen SG, Morris AJ, Thorson JS. Facile strategies for the synthesis and utilization of S-adenosyl-L-methionine analogs. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2014, 53, 3965-3969. PMCID: PMC4076696
  • Gantt RW, Peltier-Pain P, Singh S, Zhou M, Thorson JS. Broadening the scope of glycosyltransferase-catalyzed sugar nucleotide synthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2013, 110, 7648-7653. PMCID: PMC3651490
  • Peltier-Pain P, Marchillo K, Zhou M, Andes DR, Thorson JS.  Natural product disaccharide engineering through tandem glycosyltransferase catalysis reversibility and neoglycosylation. Org. Lett. 2012, 14, 5086-5089.  PMCID: PMC3489467
  • Gantt RW, Peltier-Pain P, Cournoyer WJ, Thorson JS. Using simple donors to drive the equilibria of glycosyltransferase-catalyzed reactions. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2011, 7, 685-689. PMCID: PMC3177962
  • Goff RD, Thorson JS. An assessment of chemoselective neoglycosylation methods using chlorambucil as a model. J. Med. Chem. 2010, 53, 8129-8139. PCMID: PMC2988911
  • Goff RD, Thorson JS. Enhancing the divergent activities of betulinic acid via neoglycosylation. Org. Lett. 2009, 11, 461-464. PCMID: PMC2704577
  • Gantt RW, Goff RD, Williams GJ, Thorson JS. Probing the aglycon promiscuity of an engineered glycosyltransferase. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 8889-8892. PCMID: PMC2963038
  • Williams GJ, Zhang C, Thorson JS. Expanding the promiscuity of a natural product glycosyltransferase by directed evolution. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2007, 3, 657-662.
  • Zhang C, Griffith BR, Fu Q, Albermann C, Fu X, Lee IK, Li L, Thorson JS. Exploiting the reversibility of natural product glycosyltransferase-catalyzed reactions. Science 2006, 313, 1291-1294.
  • Langenhan JM, Peters NR, Guzei IA, Hoffmann FM, Thorson JS. Enhancing the anti-cancer properties of cardiac glycosides via neoglycorandomization. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2005, 102, 12305-12310.
  • Bililign T, Hyun C-G, Williams JS, Czisny AM, Thorson, JS. The hedamycin locus implicates a novel aromatic PKS priming mechanism. Chem. & Biol. 2004, 11, 959-969.
  • Biggins JB, Onwueme KC, Thorson JS. The Mechanism of CalC: Resistance to enediyne antitumor antibiotics by self-sacrifice. Science 2003, 301, 1537-1541.
  • Ahlert J, Shepard EM, Lomovskaya N, Zazopoulos E, Staffa A, Bachmann BO, Huang K, Yang X, Fonstein L, Czisny A, Whitwam RE, Farnet CM, Thorson JS. The calicheamicin gene cluster and its iterative type I enediyne PKS. Science 2002, 297, 1173-1176.
  • Barton WA, Biggins JB, Lesniak J, Jeffrey PD, Jiang J, Rajashankar KR, Thorson JS, Nikolov DB. Structure, mechanism and active-site engineering of a nucleotidylyltransferase: The first step in the glycorandomization of natural product-based metabolites. Nat. Struct. Biol. 2001, 8, 2223-2226.
  • Biggins JB, Prudent JR, Marshall DJ, Ruppen M, Thorson JS.  A continuous assay for DNA cleavage: The application of “break lights” to enediynes, iron-dependent agents and nucleases.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2000, 97, 13537-13542.
  • Zhao L, Ahlert J, Xue Y, Thorson JS, Sherman DH, Liu H-w.  Engineering a methymycin/pikromycin-calicheamicin hybrid:  Construction of two new macrolides carrying a designed sugar moiety.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999, 121, 9881-9882.
  • Zhao Y, Biggins JB, Thorson JS.  Acceptor specificity of Salmonella  GDP-Man:alpha-LRha-(1-3)-alpha-DGal-PP-Und beta-4-mannosyltransferase: A simplified assay based upon unnatural acceptors.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1998, 120, 12986-12987.


page last modified: October 26 2015     

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